Is it common for women to wear pantyliners all the time?
September 2, 2006 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Is it common for women to wear pantyliners all the time?

My girlfriend does, except for during her period, during which time she wears pads. She says she doesn't like her panties to get wet: she says it makes her feel gross. She's done this all her life. Does this point to body issues? Women, does it make you feel "icky" to walk around in panties without a liner?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Slight vaginal discharge is common and can be annoying. I personally wear pantyliners most of the time as well. I can't say how common it is, though.
posted by luftmensch at 5:34 PM on September 2, 2006

I like the "feel" of cotton. But if the feel of liners doesn't bother someone, and they wear liners every day, then their undies will always stay perfectly white (or whatever color they started out). So, it could be more about liking one's undies nice.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 5:35 PM on September 2, 2006

I've met a lot of younger women who do this and I'm never sure if younger people are more hygeine-conscious, or if all the tv commercials that say "hey now you can wear them everyday, just to feel a little fresher!" are having some effect. My general feeling is that they're not necessary but it's definitely a taste thing. If you're sweaty, wearing underwear that doesn't breathe, or for some women if you're ovulating, you can have a crotch that is stickier than usual and this might 1) feel icky and 2) get crotch goo on really nice panties. Also, some women -- though this is often older women, but it varies -- leak pee. If you're a leaker these things are more of a necessity (and kegels are recommended).

So, I don't think it's body issues any more than feeling icky about any part of your body is a sign of body issues, lots of people have them to some minor degree. I read your post and was like "wow, people still use pads huh?" everyone has their own routines.
posted by jessamyn at 5:37 PM on September 2, 2006

It's usually recommended that women not wear liners all the time - to do with airflow and having a healthy vagina and all that - but plenty of women do. Depends on how much vaginal discharge she's dealing with (if it's a lot she might want to get her gyn to look into it).

Nothing to do with body issues, no worries there.
posted by Salmonberry at 5:39 PM on September 2, 2006

I think it's a case of ymmv.

When pantyliners first came out (they were called minipads then) they were for days when you knew you would only be spotting -or when you weren't sure when you would get your period. Pads were more in use then along with sanitary belts, and the minipads were much more comfy. Not long after that, regular pads that stuck directly on your underwear made the belts obsolete-and tampons were getting more and more popular until the great toxic shock syndrome scare of the early 80's. As a result we now have a billion types of sanitary protection methods to choose from, of all sorts of absorbencies and types.
posted by konolia at 6:02 PM on September 2, 2006

I've never worn pantyliners, and pads seem quite foreign and archaic. It's total news to me that someone would wear pantyliners all the time.
posted by lunalaguna at 6:26 PM on September 2, 2006

I had an ex who wore a pantyliner all the time. It weirded me out, but she didn't have any body issues as far as those things are concered.
posted by nadawi at 6:26 PM on September 2, 2006

I've used panyliners almost everyday for years. I like the extra layer when I'm ovulating or the day after having sex. But then it turns into an everyday thing because of habit. I've tried to break the routine many times, because I don't like to add to the landfills over something so silly.

Now I'm using cloth menstrual pads. I can wash and reuse them, but still have an extra layer over my panties.
posted by saffry at 6:29 PM on September 2, 2006

My wife wears them the same way your girlfriend does.

I don't think it's body issues, just the way she was raised.
posted by Argyle at 6:32 PM on September 2, 2006

I have never heard of anyone wearing pantyliners all the time. I guess it could be acceptable for the last day or so of the period but it astounds me that anyone would wear anything except tampons because letting your monthly crotch rot just drip onto a pad that may or may not catch it is disgusting.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:48 PM on September 2, 2006

"monthly crotch rot"? I've never seen it as THAT disgusting... perhaps that's why I use pads.
posted by MadamM at 6:50 PM on September 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Well, it's not just blood. It differs in composition from the venous blood. It is the old tissue and menstural blood that your body is trying to expel. I wouldn't call it rot, but it does often seem that way on day 2 of my cycle.
posted by nadawi at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2006

I don't for the simple reason I need the circulation that unlined cotton provides, otherwise i'd be dealing with yeast more often than i'd like. Plus, I hate pads - ick. They shift, they bunch, they can leak.. ugh. No thanks, but that's just a personal preference.
posted by cgg at 8:19 PM on September 2, 2006

Another vote for "I never knew knew there were women who did."
posted by cali at 8:38 PM on September 2, 2006

I would guess the only reasons someone isn't wearing cotton briefs is a. they are not used to thongs or b. the seamless underwear sold at Victoria's Secret is generally a lycra blend of some sort. Someone make seamless no pantyline cotton briefs, please.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:42 PM on September 2, 2006

I'm with cali & lunalaguna - I never heard of such a thing, except for the following: When I was about 12 and had just gotten my period, I started wearing a pad every day - I thought you had to, forever, because your period might appear at any moment, any day, for the rest of your life. I was, clearly, way unclear on the monthly thing. My pediatrician spotted this and kindly explained to me that that was not how it worked and I would likely be fine with just underwear most of the month, which was a huge relief, because this was in the days before liners; those things were giant and miserably uncomfortable. Since then, ugh, I can't imagine bothering with anything extra in my underwear except in dire necessity. Liners would make me feel way ickier than just panties. Yes, the panties do, eventually, get elderly and spotted, as do we all. That's life, and then you have an excuse to go buy new underwear, which is fun.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:13 PM on September 2, 2006 [2 favorites]

i know a number of women who do. some of us have more discharge issues than others, and it's much easier to buy liners than endless replacement underwear.

in other words: every woman is different.
posted by sdn at 10:10 PM on September 2, 2006

(definatly TMI) liquorice: i had that problem when i first started wearing them. it hurt like freaking hell. i think the trick is finding the right position to put them in at and the right tampons. spoil yourself and try some of the better ones. never use target store brand. i also find that due to being fairly dry when i need to use a tampon i'll add a little water to the outside rim. The part that took me forever to figure out was not to pull them out when they were totally dry (as in the last day or two of my cycle).

i can't stay away from this thread.
posted by nadawi at 11:18 PM on September 2, 2006

I have never heard of this before. I also don't use pads, hate the things. But some people can't use tampons. Everyone to their own I guess. As mygothlaundry says, buying new underwear is fun. Why delay?
posted by Joh at 11:24 PM on September 2, 2006

it just seems like a tremendous amount of paper/plastic/cotton/packaging to use and throw away to me.
posted by judith at 11:28 PM on September 2, 2006 [2 favorites]

I wore panty liners every day while *extreme travelling* like trekking in the jungle of Borneo for a few weeks, and would do so again for that kind of thing. It may sound gross, but it's useful, panty liners let you recycle your undies for a few days when it may not be practical to change them or you didn't quite have enough room for the 17 changes of panties. (No I'm not dirty but you try washing and drying everything in leech filled rivers with 100% humidity!).

At home I'm footloose and fancy free. Woohoo.
posted by teststrip at 12:05 AM on September 3, 2006

(Also, probably TMI: But I've never worn tampons, I've tried a couple of times but it just hurts like hell when I've done it. Probably not doing it right but meeeh.)

(i was the same way the first few times I tried them. I tried a different kind, different size, and I was good. just fyi. )

oh, and pantyliners? eh eh. Not my thing. Then again, I don't get "monthly crotch rot"... at least not to the extent I'm imagining. Which, incidentally, is making me want to stay away from my vagina at all costs. Thanks.
posted by damnjezebel at 2:38 AM on September 3, 2006

I usually wear pantyliners. It's a freshness thing for me. I don't suffer from excess discharge or anything, but, especially in the summer months when I'm liable to sweat more, I prefer a liner to absorb the crotch sweat so I can change it for a fresh one if necessary. The liners I use are so thin I don't even feel them.
posted by essexjan at 3:44 AM on September 3, 2006

To the contrary--panty liners make me feel icky. The plastic backing is enough prevent airflow and make things sweaty, but they're not very absorbent. Terrible combination, IMHO. But hey, whatever works for you/her...
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:46 AM on September 3, 2006

I never wear pantyliners. Never have, never plan to.

I also wear pads, if it matters, and never tampons—could never find a kind of tampon that wasn't too big or too small, and I don't relish the thought of possibly leaking while putting a tampon in or taking it out. Seems potentially messy, esp. 'cause people often need to wear pantyliners with tampons anyway. Seems wasteful, too.
posted by limeonaire at 6:59 AM on September 3, 2006

Here's another "I had no idea women did this" data point... although it does explain who's buying these.

There are more things in heaven and earth and women's underwear...
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:24 AM on September 3, 2006

i definitely think wearing pantyliners everyday is a weird body issue, and to deny it is, well, denial. i've never heard of anyone doing this my whole life, and it just goes against everything i've been told from my doctor and gyno. there is no way you are liberal about your body if you can't even acknowledge that leakage/monthly discharge (i believe the vagina flushes/cleanses itself every 7 hours or something like that) is a natural, innevitable, and very necessary thing.

i'm sorry, but this is equivalent to sitting around in a wet bathing-suit all day, which you learn not to do when you are like 5-years-old. it breeds yeast and bacteria at an accelerated pace. hallo UTI! hallo yeast infection! hallo vaginitis! (ew). there is nothing 'clean' about wearing liners every single day.

and the justification of 'keeping ones panties clean' is neurotic. it's like covering your furniture in plastic because you don't want to dirty it. Panties are MEANT to get dirty. i mean, there's an entire fetish market for this, even.

ladies please, if you need extra absorption when you are spotting or ovulating, use one of those tampax LITES, which are slender and low absorbancy.
posted by naxosaxur at 11:33 AM on September 3, 2006

Jesus. Those things are fucking EXPENSIVE.

Put me in the 'never heard of such a thing' column.
posted by reklaw at 1:20 PM on September 3, 2006

Never heard of it. Never plan to do it. Yuck.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:32 PM on September 3, 2006

I know plenty of women who do but I don't. I find that letting the cootchie snorter breath is good for it. No pantyliners and natural fiber underwear and only one yeast infection in 30 years. I find that I occasionally have damp undies but it just raises their value on the Japanese fetish black market.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:02 PM on September 3, 2006

I find it insulting to say I'm in denial about my body because I prefer to wear liners to absorb my vaginal discharge every day. I guess wearing deodorant every day also means I am in denial about my body odor. I must hate myself a lot.

In reality, I am just being practical about my body. A few years ago I would only wear liners when I was on my period with tampons. I made the conscious choice to wear liners daily because I was tired of stained, damp underwear. I have a lot of discharge that would not wash out of my (cotton) undies in the wash. I'm not about to handwash every pair of underwear, so I protect the fabric with liners and can "recycle" them if needed, which I couldn't do before.

Geez, not every feminine hygiene product is a tool of the patriarchy. I just don't want stained undies!
posted by lychee at 9:39 PM on September 3, 2006

I don't tend to wear underwear (and if I do, it's rarely ever nice-looking stuff), so I can't say that I myself do this - nor do I kow anyone else that does this, or have ever heard of anyone doing this.

At least to me, the feel of pantyliners has always been uncomfortable.
posted by itchie at 5:33 AM on September 4, 2006

I sometimes wear sanitary pads on a hot day because tend to sweat a lot down there when it's hot. And I hate the thought that I might get so sweaty that there'll be a damp patch on my clothes. I'd much rather use a pad to absorb the sweat. In general, I don't worry - just if it's boiling hot or I'm walking long distances.
posted by talitha_kumi at 7:12 AM on September 4, 2006

Using a tampon instead of a pantyliner? How is that a better solution to keeping clean? I would think it would put you at risk of Toxic Spock Syndrome.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2006

I've never worn pantyliners, but it doesn't surprise me that some women do. To each, her own.

I wear pads during my period - tampons can't keep up with the *ahem* flow most of the time. I'd have to wear pads as well as tampons and what would be the point of that?

I dare mathowie to side-bar this thread ;)
posted by deborah at 1:42 PM on September 5, 2006

Gynecologically speaking, it's often advised that as often as possible, women wear no underpants.
Ventilation is a good thing - it reduces the buildup of those little yeasty buggers that feast on vaginal discharge - as there isn't a layer of fabric to keep in the heat and moisture.
Obviously, this isn't terribly practical in winter, but certainly in warm and humid seasons, ventilation (skirts and no underpants, if you want to ventilate to the max) are the best way to go.
Dressing this way actually cuts DOWN on vaginal discharge.
Those who would reply that not wearing underwear is a vaguely queasy concept - well, that's a matter of cultural conditioning.
Even in the west, female underwear used to consist of split drawers - principally for ease of access under interminable layers of petticoats, but it is certainly a fact that we've become attuned to that comforting band of elastic around our hips and upper thighs.
I suggest an experiment - try sleeping at night without underpants - the vast majority of worried women will find no discharge on the sheets or on their thighs - and see how it feels.
posted by defcom1 at 9:45 PM on September 6, 2006

what defcom says makes sense to me. i often wear cotton boxer shorts (i often wear baggy men's pants as well) and almost never find any discharge in the crotch area. especially in the summer, i find that the extra ventilation keeps me cool and clean. i never sleep in underwear, and my (dark blue) sheets are never spotted or damp when i wake up. when i do wear cotton womens briefs, when i'm wearing a skirt or business pants, i find that i have much more discharge. i can see how it could be tempting to wear panty liners to wick sweat and discharge, but i really really think that they would contribute more to the problem than they'd solve.
posted by LizardOfDoom at 9:38 PM on April 22, 2007

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